FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10/25/2016
Rep. Donna Howard Calls For Immediate Boost in CPS Caseworker Salaries
AUSTIN - Today, Rep. Donna Howard provided a letter to the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker, urging them to take immediate action to address the caseworker turnover/retention issue at the state's Child Protective Services agency. She issued the following statement:
“Our foster care system is currently in crisis, with thousands of children at risk of abuse and neglect every day despite being in the care of the state.
"While I welcome Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Commissioner Whitman's plan to hire additional caseworkers and lower caseloads, I fear that his plan does little to address the turnover issue that has plagued CPS. Recruitment and retention will continue to suffer—as will our foster children—if we keep failing to offer competitive salaries for our front-line workers.
"I have requested that state leaders utilize the Legislative Budget Board's authority to immediately provide a targeted permanent salary increase to CPS caseworkers in high-turnover, high-workload areas. This $60 million Budget Execution would be similar to the action taken by the LBB in 2014, when an additional $86 million was directed toward securing our border.
"Protecting our most vulnerable children should always be a top priority for Texas government. With CPS in a state of emergency, we must take steps to ensure a dedicated and qualified workforce to oversee our foster kids.
"The need is acute, and the time for action is now."